Wayne State University considers noncompete clauses for physician group

Detroit-based Wayne State University has created a potential noncomplete clause that it expects the more than 500 members of its faculty practice, University Physician Group, to sign by Jan. 1, according to Crain's Detroit Business.

Wayne State told Crain's that "noncompete agreements are a standard practice" for medical groups.

The university said it but has not officially changed any policies. "We are considering noncompete agreements for our clinical faculty. We've received some feedback that we are considering, but to date we have not changed any policies," the university said in a statement.

But some of the feedback the university has received isn't positive. Charles Parrish, PhD, president of the American Association of University Professors-AFT Michigan Local 6075, sent a letter of opposition to Wayne State officials in late July.

The letter allegedly asked the university to "cease and desist from causing or attempting to cause school of medicine faculty to sign a covenant not to compete or any other document that alters their terms and conditions of employment."

If UPG members do not sign the agreement, they will be subject to paying UPG their previous two years of compensation before termination, according to Crain's.

By signing the clause, WayneState physicians employed by UPG will not be allowed to quit and will have to provide services to Royal Oak, Mich.-based William Beaumont Hospital, Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System, Flint, Mich.-based McLaren Health Care Corp., St. Louis, Mo.-based Ascension Health or other specified hospitals within one year.

UPG has not required a noncompete clause before. University officials have not publicly acknowledged the reasoning behind the potential agreement.

Dr. Parrish pointed to Wayne State's ongoing contract negotiations with its teaching hospital partner, Detroit Medical Center, as a possible cause of the noncompete proposal.

But DMC Senior Vice President for Population Health Roger Wiseman declined to comment on the issue. "We are still in negotiations with WayneState regarding medical administration and clinical agreements. We hope we are close to an end of those negotiations," he said.

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